In light of George Galloway’s recent win in Bradford West we should remember what happened in 2005, when he was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman:
“JP: We’re joined now from his count in Bethnal Green and Bow by George Galloway. Mr Galloway, are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?
GG: What a preposterous question. I know it’s very late in the night, but wouldn’t you be better starting by congratulating me for one of the most sensational election results in modern history?
JP: Are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?
GG: I’m not – Jeremy – move on to your next question.
JP: You’re not answering that one?
GG: No because I don’t believe that people get elected because of the colour of their skin. I believe people get elected because of their record and because of their policies. So move on to your next question.
JP: Are you proud –
GG: Because I’ve got a lot of people who want to speak to me.
JP: – You –
GG: If you ask that question again, I’m going, I warn you now.
JP: Don’t try and threaten me Mr Galloway, please.
GG: You’re the one who’s trying to badger me.
JP: I’m not trying to badger you, I’m merely trying to ask if you’re proud at having driven out of Parliament one of the very few black women there, a woman you accuse of having on her conscience 100,000 people.
GG: Oh well there’s no doubt about that one. There’s absolutely no doubt that all those New Labour MPs who voted for Mr Blair and Mr Bush’s war have on their hands the blood of 100,000 people in Iraq, many of them British soldiers, many of them American soldiers, most of them Iraqis and that’s a more important issue than the colour of her skin.
JP: Absolutely, because you then went on to say “including a lot of women who had blacker faces than her”
GG: Absolutely right, absolutely right. So don’t try and tell me I should feel guilty about one of the most sensational election results in modern electoral history.
JP: I put it to you Mr Galloway that Nick Raynsford had you to a T when he said you were a “demagogue”.
JP: Nick Raynsford. You know who I mean? Nick Raynsford. Labour MP?
GG: No, I don’t know who you mean.
JP: Never heard of him.
GG: I’ve never heard of Nick Raynsford, no.
JP: What else haven’t you heard of?
GG: Well, I’ve been in Parliament a long time…
JP: He was a Parliamentary colleague of yours until very recently.
GG: Well, most of them just blend one into the other, Jeremy, they’re largely a spineless, a supine bunch.
JP: Have you ever heard of Tony Banks?
GG: Yes I have, yes.
JP: Right, Tony Banks was sitting here five minutes ago, and he said that you were behaving inexcusably, that you had deliberately chosen to go to that part of London and to exploit the latent racial tensions there.
GG: You are actually conducting one of the most – even by your standards – one of the most absurd interviews I have ever participated in. I have just won an election. Can you find it within yourself to recognise that fact? To recognise the fact that the people of Bethnal Green and Bow chose me this evening. Why are you insulting them?
JP: I’m not insulting them, I’m not insulting you
GG: You are insulting them, they chose me just a few minutes ago. Can’t you find it within yourself even to congratulate me on this victory?
JP: Congratulations, Mr Galloway.
GG: Thank you very much indeed. [Waves, removes microphone] “